PUDDLETOWN captain Adam Barrett urged his side to “hit the ground running” when they host fifth-placed Blandford in County Division Two tomorrow (1.30pm). 

The villagers, who currently sit fourth in the table after back-to-back victories, were comfortably beaten by their opponents when the clubs met on the first day of season, and Barrett admits he expects another tough fixture this coming weekend.

Speaking to Echosport, Barrett said: “When we faced Blandford earlier in the season we were on the wrong end of a hiding. I think we were skittled for 100 that day, so we’re going to need to bat a lot better this weekend if we are to stand any chance of taking something from the game.”

Reflecting on the first half of the season, Barrett admitted that he was pleased with the way his side have settled into life in County Division Two, but has urged his team to kick on in the second half of the season.

“At the start of the season, if you had offered us fourth place at the halfway point, just six points behind second, I think we would have taken it. We have struggled a little bit for consistency so far, but if we can start performing like we know we can week in week out, then I see no reason as to why we can’t be there or thereabouts in the promotion places come end of the season.”

With regards to team selection, Puddletown are boosted with strong availability this weekend, with James Mitchell and Steve Chaldecott both returning to the side. The only absentee for the hosts is Will Gage, who is away performing at Hifields festival in Cambridge. 

“James and Chaldy come back into the side, which means Crabby (Michael Crabb) and Clarky (Chris Clarke) are dropping down into the seconds. 

“The only other change is Will Gage. His band is performing this weekend at Hifields festival in Cambridge, so we all wish him the best because it’s all he’s been going on about for months!”

Puddletown: Allen, Stevens, Mitchell, Barrett, Weir, Snow, Blair, Eastment, C Chaldecott, Hoffman, S Chaldecott.